Hey, programmers! MARTA’s real-time bus data is now available to download

Christmas comes early for tech-savvy developers


What present do you get the transit-loving programmer who has everything? You can start by pointing them to MARTA’s website.

After months of pleading by data fiends, the transit agency today made information available that could help tech-savvy developers and entrepreneurs build apps that would make it easier for riders to use the transit system. In addition to a general file that includes information about routes, schedules, and stops, MARTA’s providing real-time bus locations. From the transit agency:

The MARTA Bus Real-Time Data API provides real-time bus location information. This information consists of various web services which dynamically queries the MARTA database and display logitude and latitude information on a Google Map. The Bus Real-time Data is refreshed every 10 seconds. In order to access this information you must request this information by filling out the the Bus Real-time Data Request form and agree to our Terms and Conditions.

Why is MARTA releasing the bus real-time data?
We want to share MARTA’s data with others to give them an opportunity to develop custom web and mobile applications.
Will you be able to provide technical support?
Unfortunately, we would only be able to provide limited support. Email us know about any issues or enhancements you’d like to see in the API.
What are your plans for future development?
The MARTA Web Development group is in the process deploying various mobile apps in the very near future which would aide our customers in their daily commute.

The move is a big step for the agency, one which transit advocates have long said could boost MARTA’s image and improve riders’ experience by providing better information about when buses and trains arrive. And that’s just with basic information. There’s nothing stopping MARTA from collecting data about station construction or renovations, broken escalators, and closed restrooms, which could then be released to developers.

To access the data, fill out the request form. MARTA says it will then review the company’s information and determine whether it should grant access to the information. That process sounds a bit more restrictive than what the transit agency originally told us when we reported on the decision in late September to release the data. We’ve reached out to MARTA asking about criteria to determine who receives access to the information and how long people would have to wait to receive the data. We’ll gladly update when we hear a response. But sign up and see what happens.